José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso following the meeting with Mr Traian Băsescu, President of Romania
Brussels, 25 October 2011
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,
I am very pleased to welcome President Traian Băsescu to the European Commission.
The President and I have had an intensive and very fruitful and as always friendly discussion. This was a timely occasion for us to discuss some of the pressing issues on our agenda.
The President and I had the opportunity to go over the important progress made this weekend, at the European Council and the euro area summit, towards the comprehensive response we need to deliver for Europe. I am confident that the intense work now underway will lead to a successful outcome at tomorrow evening's summit, an outcome that allows us to move forward beyond this crisis, to restore confidence in Europe's determination to act.
One of the key elements of the comprehensive package is growth enhancing reforms. One of the best ways to achieve this is to utilise the existing money available under structural funds.
Indeed in the European Council I had the opportunity to present our proposals from the Commission to enhance growth. We need fiscal consolidation but we also need growth. And among the proposals I made to speed up growth in Europe I mentioned precisely the best use of the structural funds.
Indeed we have been working together since I visited Romania a year ago on how we can increase the absorption capacity of Romania. We have seen some positive developments over the last six months and I have urged the President to intensify his personal commitment on this issue.
Romania is one of the countries that would benefit from the Commission proposal to "top up" payments to the countries under adjustment programmes by increasing EU co-financing with 10%. This proposal made by the Commission was already accepted by all member states and I thank them for that. Now I expect that it will be very soon finalised with the support of the European Parliament.
I also agreed with President Băsescu - this is a matter we have discussed in the European Council and today we have gone more in detail - that insuring that plans for restoring confidence on European Union banking sector should not affect the credit flow in Romania. We are discussing with the Ministers of Finance in order to make sure that all national banking supervisors work together under the coordination of the European Banking Authority. The national supervisors will play a critical role in this process, they will insure that the Euro area parent banks will continue to provide capital support for their Romanian affiliates if needed, as committed during the last Vienna initiative meeting on Romania in March 2011.
We have also discussed today the accession of Romania to Schengen; I want to reiterate the Commission's support for the country joining the Schengen area. We consider that Romania has met all the necessary requirements, so to have Romania in Schengen is a matter of fairness. That is why I want to say to the Romanian people that the European Commission supports their aim for a free travel in the European space and we will continue to work together with our member states to try to lift some political obstacles that remain in two member states.
I am sure that the Romania will be an important partner for the Commission in the coming months. I know that President Băsescu wants a strong Europe with stronger European institutions and strong community approach. These months are crucial for Europe and for European economy. The economic crisis has a strong impact on people's standard of living. Just a little more than 24 hours before the European Council and the follow-up Euro area summit, let me repeat that we are working on solid and convincing solutions to deliver tomorrow a comprehensive package for stability and growth. It is time to end the uncertainty.